Tech News on G4
New 'Painkiller' not up to scratch
December 04, 2007
By John Powell - G4 Canada
In 2004, the original 'Painkiller' PC shooter came out of nowhere to shock and surprise gamers. With its original foes, wonderfully disturbing scenery and wickedly destructive weapons like the stake gun, 'Painkiller' was much more than some 'Doom' wannabe and gained enough momentum to become the sleeper hit of the year.
Initially a free mod, 'Painkiller: Overdose' is now a standalone expansion pack that like the other add-ons in the series, doesn't come close to living up to the original.
Overdose's plot has less meat on its bones than the rotting zombies and skeletons populating the game. You are the wise-cracking Belial, a half-demon, half-angel outcast who has been ostracized by both heaven and hell. Tortured for eons by the demon Cerberus, you finally break free from your chains and cut a bloody path through hell to exact revenge on your oppressors. That's all the motivation you are given to lay ruin to anything that moves.
'Overdose' forsakes the more imaginative level design of 'Painkiller' which had players touring eerie opera houses and insane asylums. In the old school style of 'Serious Sam' and 'Wolfenstein 3D' , you wander from one big open area to the next blasting everything in sight while snarling habitual one-liners like "Another one bites the dust!" and "Tastes like chicken!" in a voice modeled after Duke Nukem.
Like Belial's quips, the nostalgic shooting gallery gameplay gets real old, real fast even though each themed level (the desert, the swamp, outer space) has its own unique set of villains. The devilish ninjas, levitating Egyptian jackals, demon knights and undead gang members are on par with the grotesquely fantastic creatures found in 'Painkiller' but it doesn't help that the stake gun and the other weapons which made much of the mindless mayhem so appealing in 'Painkiller' have been replaced by a 'Hellraiser' like puzzle cube, a three-shot explosive shotgun, a magical decapitated demon's head and a crossbow. The new weapons just don't match up when it comes to efficiency or compelling viciousness.
With little originality, 'Overdose' is a major step backwards for a series that began with such promise.
Rating: 6 / 10
About G4 in Canada
G4 Canada (formerly TechTV Canada) launched in September 2001. G4 is the one and only television station that is plugged into every dimension of games, gear, gadgets and gigabytes. Owned Rogers Media Inc., the channel airs more than 24 original series. G4 is available on digital cable and satellite. For more information, see www.g4tv.ca.